Sampling of the adrenal glands by endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration

Edward B. Stelow, Steven M. Debol, Michael W. Stanley, Shawn Mallery, Rebecca Lai, Ricardo H. Bardales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)-guided fine-needle aspiration (FNA) has proven to be a valuable modality for the primary diagnosis and staging of gastrointestinal, and perigastrointestinal malignancy. Aside from assessing thoracic and abdominal lymph nodes and the liver for metastases, EUS can assess and sample the adrenal glands, which are frequently involved by metastatic disease, but can also harbor benign primary neoplasms. The cytology files at our institution were reviewed for all cases of EUS-guided FNA of the adrenal glands. Clinical histories, sonographic findings, and cytologic findings of all cases were reviewed. Results were compared with overall EUS-guided FNA performance and the performance of non-EUS-guided FNA of the adrenal. The utility of cell block immunohistochemistry (IHC) in these cases was reviewed. Between 1/1/00 and 5/15/04 there were 24 cases of EUS-guided FNA of the adrenal gland from 22 different patients (13 men; 9 women) at our institution. This represented 1.4% of overall EUS-guided FNA and 77% of adrenal gland FNA. Patient ages ranged from 37 to 86 yr (mean 69 ± 11 yr). Most patients had other cancers or mass lesions and were being staged at the time of the procedure (19 of 22). Almost all FNAs were of the left adrenal gland (23 of 24). Lesion size ranged from 0.9 to 7.9 cm (mean 2.5 ± 1.6 cm). Diagnostic material was present in all cases when compared with an overall EUS-guided FNA diagnostic rate of 88%. Material for cell block was present in 21 cases, and IHC was used in 3 cases. Final diagnoses were as follows: cortical tissue consistent with cortical adenoma (19), metastatic adenocarcinoma (3), pheochromocytoma (1), and adrenal cortical carcinoma (1). EUS-guided FNA of the adrenal gland is primarily used in the staging of other malignancies when lesions of the left adrenal are recognized sonographically. Diagnostic tissue is easily obtained, including material for cell block IHC, which allows definitive diagnosis in cases that present difficult differential diagnoses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-30
Number of pages5
JournalDiagnostic Cytopathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2005


  • Adrenal gland
  • Carcinoma
  • Cortical adenoma
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Fine-needle aspiration
  • Metastases
  • Pheochromocytoma


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